Last night was the overly-hyped VMA awards. I wasn’t watching since the only awards events I tend to watch are the Tony’s and the Oscar’s. Plus, at the moment I do not have cable. Anyway, within twenty minutes of the extravanganza airing my facebook feed was blowing up about Miley Cyrus’ performance, so naturally I looked it up on youtube.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure how to react to it. This is not because I still want to keep her boxed into her preteen Disney channel persona, but because it felt to me that the only way for her to break away from such an image was by degrading and over sexualizing herself. In interviews before the show Cyrus claimed that her performance was going to top the now infamous kiss between Britney Spears and Madonna back in 2003. Perhaps she succeeded since today and even last night many on facebook and twitter were either talking about NSYNC’s brief reunion or Cyrus’ risqué performance.
So the question that begs to be asked is whether the route she is taking the only road open to her in order to reinvent herself in the public’s eyes. Perhaps because I am a woman I am prejudiced, but I believe it’s not. Watching her performance I felt embarrassed, but like a train wreck I couldn’t look away. She is talented, and the song she sang would have been catchy whether or not she had stayed clothed. The sad fact is people are not talking about her merit as a musician. Instead, they are discussing the blatant display of her body and her interaction with Robin Thicke. How does this move her career as an artist forward? She is leading the public to take her less and less seriously.
I understand why she wants to reinvent herself. I’m basically the same age as her and I’d be frustrated if people still saw me as my sixteen year old self. However, using sexuality to feign maturity is fake, and in the end, hollow.